I know some people think foursquare is stupid and that’s OK.
Some people also think playing video games is stupid but that hasn’t stopped consumers from spending almost $8 billion dollars per year.
As a brief summary, foursquare is a location-based game in which people use their GPS-enabled cellphones to “check-in” at locations. Checking in earns them points, badges and mayorships. It’s all fun and, for the most part, you don’t get anything but bragging rights out of it with your friends. I explained why I thought dealers should pay attention to foursquare in a previous blog post. I also briefly touched on the idea I go into in this blog post.
It has been exploding with new user registration now boasting about 1 million users and adding about 50,000 per day. This, of course, is attracting major brands such as Starbucks, Pepsi, Macys and more to see what they can do to use it for their benefit.
According to a New York Times article today , Pepsi just worked out a deal with foursquare to offer “live notification(s) when customers are near stores” that carry Pepsi products. Pepsi relies on stores to sell Pepsi products so their interest is in directing customers into those stores. They’ve also combined their foursquare campaign with their Pepsi loyalty campaign so when people check-in at those stores, they actually earn Pepsi points for their loyalty account in addition to the points they receive on foursquare.
I’m waiting for an automotive manufacturer to start a similar campaign since they are pretty much in Pepsi’s shoes and rely on dealerships to move vehicles. Why not have an OEM campaign designed to drive customers to dealerships? (I wouldn’t be surprised if Ford is the first OEM to try this. They’ve certainly embraced social media marketing.)
Foursquare has also started catering to businesses and offering businesses the opportunity to offer their customers specials, coupons and freebies. It includes with it analytics of your business (as related to foursquare check-ins). You can see more about their program here (Foursquare + Your Business ). Here’s a sample image (from that page) showing you kind of what you “could” do when people check-in:
Without going into too much detail, the one thing that foursquare users love is badges. People go to places and do things just to get badges. The badges don’t really “do” anything. They’re just cool and, well, it is a game after all.
Whether you like foursquare or even know what it is, there’s at least one immediate thing you can do to drive traffic to your dealership, cater to the game.
There exists a badge on foursquare called the Swarm badge. This badge can only be unlocked when 50+ users check-in at the same place and at the same time (within an undisclosed time frame). This is particularly hard to get, for obvious reasons.
Dealerships use promotions all the time designed to bring people to their lot. Radio station promotions, Gas card and movie ticket giveaways, free food, live entertainment, etc.
Why not hold a “Swarm” event?
It’s not hard and it’s free. Worst that could happen: nobody shows up. Best case scenario: you have people on your lot. Accompanied with an appropriate Twitter campaign, you will generate interest and you may even get foursquare to help market your event. They’ve been known to do that. If foursquare tweeted just one tweet about your event, 60,000+ people would get exposed to your store. I guarantee that consumers in your market will also re-tweet this event as they will have a vested interest in ensuring that as many people show up as possible.
Consumers get barraged with all the “typical” dealership events and they tend to tune them out, in my opinion. We have so many “sales” that a customer probably feels like there’s a sale every week so the “sense of urgency” a sale is designed to instill is negated by the fact that we have them so often and, in some cases, all the time.
Do you know why Nordstom’s sales are so popular? They only have them twice a year. Really. Only twice. They never deviate from that and customers know it. That’s creating a true sense of urgency.
A Swarm event would create a true sense of urgency, even if only for foursquare users. They would have to come on a specific time on a specific date and they will come, I promise.
You never know, you may even have such a great turnout that the people on your lot at your swarm event earn the even more coveted Super Swarm badge where 250+ people have to check-in.
All I know is anything that’s free and will bring 50+ people to my dealership on a specific date and time would definitely be something I would try out.
Just having 50+ people on your lot at the same time would bring non-foursquare users onto your lot. Why? Humans are curious beings. If they’re shopping for a car (or even just driving by), they may stop to see what’s going on. Heck, people also like attention. I could very easily see someone buying a car right then just to show off!
Having people on your lot is never a bad thing. This could help them get there.
After that, what you do with them is up to you.